Ronald Ferguson

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Ronald Ferguson
Born (1931-10-10)10 October 1931
London, England
Died 16 March 2003(2003-03-16) (aged 71)
Hampshire Clinic, Basingstoke, Hampshire, England
Title Major Ronald Ferguson
Spouse(s) Susan Barrantes
(m. 1956; div. 1974)

Susan Deptford
(m. 1975; his death 2003)
Children 5, including Sarah, Duchess of York
Parent(s) Andrew Henry Ferguson
Marian Louisa Montagu Douglas Scott

Major Ronald Ivor Ferguson (10 October 1931 – 16 March 2003) was the father of Sarah, Duchess of York, former wife to the Duke of York. He is the maternal grandfather of Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie of York. Major Ferguson was polo manager, initially to the Duke of Edinburgh and later, for many years, to the Prince of Wales.[1]


Early life[edit]

Ronald Ferguson was the son of Colonel Andrew Henry Ferguson (1899–1966) and his wife Marian Louisa Montagu Douglas Scott (1908–1996), a first cousin of Lady Alice Montagu Douglas Scott, who became (after her wedding to Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester) Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester and an aunt-by-marriage of Elizabeth II. His maternal grandfather was Lieutenant-Colonel Lord Herbert Montagu Douglas Scott, son of Sir William Montagu Douglas Scott, 6th Duke of Buccleuch, a direct descendant of Charles II of England, and Lady Louisa Jane Hamilton. His great-grandfather (through his paternal grandmother) was Henry Brand, 2nd Viscount Hampden. Ferguson's elder brother, John Ferguson, died at 10 years of age from peritonitis.[1]

He was born in London and grew up at Dummer Down Farm, his later home in adulthood, at Dummer, near Basingstoke in Hampshire. He attended Eton College and Sandhurst.[1]


He entered the Life Guards in 1952,[2] the regiment of which his father had previously been Colonel.[3] In 1954 Ferguson was promoted to Lieutenant[4] and Captain in 1958.[5] Ferguson retired in 1968 and was "granted the honorary rank of Major".[6] During his career he served with the regiment in Germany, Egypt, Aden, and Cyprus. In 1987, he was entered as an officer (brother) in the Venerable Order of Saint John.[7]


After he retired, he devoted himself to polo. His interest in polo frequently brought him into contact with the Royal Family, and it was through this connection that his daughter, Sarah, met Prince Andrew.

In 1979, on the England II team alongside Alan Kent, Patrick Churchward and Charles, Prince of Wales, he won the Silver Jubilee Cup.[8]

In 1988, while his daughter Sarah was married to Prince Andrew, the News of the World printed a story about Ferguson's membership of the Wigmore Club, "a health club and massage parlour in London staffed by girls who, dressed in starched white 'medical' gowns, allegedly offered à la carte sexual services to members."[1] He maintained that he had used the club "for massage only... and by that I mean a totally straight one" and as "a kind of cocoon where I could shut myself away for an hour and think".[1] The controversy did not affect his marriage; however, it led him to leave his post as The Prince of Wales' polo manager and his position at the Guards Polo Club.

He was reinstated with the Guards Polo Club shortly before he died.

Personal life[edit]

Ferguson's first wife was Susan Wright. They married in St Margaret's, Westminster on 17 January 1956. They had two daughters:[9]

They divorced in 1974. During their marriage, the Fergusons were recognised society figures. The Major retired from his army career, and his family moved to Dummer Down Farm which he inherited upon his father's death. In 1975, Susan married Hector Barrantes, whom she remained married to until his death in 1990.[10]

In 1976, Ferguson married for the second time to Susan Deptford. They had three children:[9]

  • Andrew Frederick John Ferguson (b. 1978)
  • Alice Victoria Ferguson (b. 1980), who married Nicholas Stileman on 28 August 2010[11]
  • Elizabeth Charlotte "Eliza" Ferguson (b. 1985, Basingstoke)

His rare media appearances were to defend his daughter Sarah and raise awareness of prostate cancer. He battled cancer during the last decade of his life. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1996, and also had skin cancer.[12] In March 2003, he died, aged 71, of a heart attack at the Hampshire Clinic, Basingstoke, Hampshire, England. The Prince of Wales and the Duke of York were among the few who attended his private funeral. His death came four-and-a-half years after his first wife, Mrs. Hector Barrantes, who died in a car crash in Argentina in September 1998.[13]




  1. ^ a b c d e "Major Ronald Ferguson", Daily Telegraph, 17 March 2003. Retrieved 22 August 2007.
  2. ^ Supplement to the London Gazette, 21 March 1952, p. 1595 (Army# 420839)
  3. ^ London Gazette, 28 October 1966, p.11793
  4. ^ London Gazette, 5 February 1954, p. 1
  5. ^ Supplement to the London Gazette, 7 February 1958, p. 840
  6. ^ Supplement to the London Gazette, 26 November 1968, p. 1
  7. ^ London Gazette, 9 November 1987
  8. ^ Horace A. Laffaye, Polo in Britain: A History, Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Co., 2012, p. 320
  9. ^ a b Births England and Wales 1984-2006
  10. ^ "Fergie mourns mum", BBC News, 22 September 1998 Retrieved on 24 June 2009.
  11. ^ Lundy, Darryl. "Alice Victoria Ferguson". The Peerage. Retrieved 29 March 2016. 
  12. ^ Major Ron Ferguson dies aged 71
  13. ^ Death of Susan Barrantes